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What doesn't kill you makes you stronger: A national study of U.S. military veterans.
Tsai J, Mota NP, Southwick SM, Pietrzak RH. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger: A national study of U.S. military veterans. Journal of affective disorders. 2016 Jan 1; 189:269-71.
Posttraumatic growth (PTG) is commonly observed among trauma survivors. However, few studies have treated PTG as multi-dimensional and examined how different PTG dimensions may be protective against the negative effects of future trauma.
Using a nationally representative web-based survey of 1057 U.S. military veterans followed for two years, we examined whether different PTG dimensions had a protective effect on the severity and diagnosis of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in the face of new traumatic life events.
Greater scores on the Personal Strength domain of the PTG Inventory-Short Form at baseline was associated with reduced severity (ß = -.05, p < .05) and incidence (OR = .68, 95% CI = .50-.93) of PTSD at a two-year follow-up.
Results are associational and causality cannot be inferred so replication is needed.
This study highlights the multi-dimensional nature of PTG and demonstrates a salubrious effect of trauma-related gains in personal strength on incident PTSD.